|The Great Plains Synfuels Plant appears as a massive complex of pipes, towers and buildings on the rolling North Dakota prairie. This plant is actually much more: it is part of an American dream. The 1970s energy crisis spawned a vision of greater U.S. energy independence. Abundant lignite resources underlying the North Dakota plains held promise as a vast synthetic fuel source. The Synfuels plant began operating in 1984 and today produces more than 54 billion standard cubic feet of natural gas annually.